Match Day 5 saw Puerto Rico run out 5-nil winners over Trinidad and Tobago when the teams clashed at the ABFA Technical Center in Tier I Group A play in the 2023 edition of the CFU Challenge Series Girls U14 competition.
Puerto Rico were dominant in possession and served notice of their intention with early inroads and an effort on goal by Amanda Figueroa in the 7’. Both Caroline Rivera Micheo and Figueroa looked to cause the Soca Warriors trouble with a willingness to play on the move. Puerto Rico employed a high press strategy, limiting time and space for their opponents to play. The plan worked to perfection, and Figueroa latched on to an errant pass in defense to send a right footed effort over the head of Amara Bhagwan.
Puerto Rico’s high press continued to cause Trinidad and Tobago trouble and won a free kick at the edge of the box in minute 21. Lauren Franco Rivera took control of the set piece and sent her shot under the wall to the left-hand side of the goalkeeper to give her team a two-goal advantage. The Boricuas continued the onslaught, and the third goal came in the 30’. Amber Córdoba Colon’s shot from distance caught Bhagwan off-guard and she managed to just get her fingertips to the ball, but Naomi Johnson was on the doorstep to capitalize. Team Puerto Rico took a three-goal lead into the half time break.
Puerto Rico came out the interval on the front foot, limiting Trinidad and Tobago’s ability to play comfortably, and their substitute shot-stopper Amelia Marryshow was called into action soon after the resumption, pulling off a diving save in the 38’. Shakily Hamilton for Trinidad and Tobago tried to keep her team in the contest with some industry and determination, but Puerto Rico had other ideas as Bryana Vega headed home from a corner kick. Rivera swung a teasing cross into the box, and Vega got on the end of it to make it four goals to zero.
Guadiana Lewis and Jayda Herbert continued to show fight for Trinidad and Tobago but containing Puerto Rico proved to be a difficult task. The fifth goal came in the 61’ as Vega grabbed her second of the game, producing a sublime touch inside the penalty area, dragging the ball away from the defender before dispatching it to the Marryshow’s left.
Camellia Marin Cestero pulled off two saves in quick succession to preserve the shut-out, first racing off her line in the 66’ to snuff out an attack and a minute later with a diving punch to deal with a dangerous dipping cross by Hackeemar Goodridge from the right side.
The final whistle sounded with much jubilation from the Puerto Ricans and emotions from the Trinidad and Tobago team.